Getting a lot of mileage
By Julia Boorstin

(FORTUNE Magazine) – With the airline industry in turmoil, plenty of people are worried about what to do with their frequent-flier miles. But what do you do if you're T. Wallace Hawkes and you have 2.5 million miles to use up?

Hawkes, 67, has flown more than 11 million miles on Delta from his Tampa home base over the past 20 years, making him one of the most frequently flown passengers around. For his job as an executive at engineering company URS Corp., he travels almost every day, and over the years he's also racked up more than a million points at US Airways, United, and Singapore Air.

So what does he think of the industry's woes? Via cellphone from the Baton Rouge airport, Hawkes reports, "I used most of my USAir miles a couple of years ago when the airline started going down the tubes." He adds that he plans to "use the rest of them fast." Hawkes has no interest in sites like that let fliers trade miles for gift certificates, nor has he ever bartered them on the black market, at sites like "If I get really worried about Delta, I'll trade my miles to another program," says Hawkes. "I'd rather use my miles for flying than anything else." With his schedule, he probably doesn't have time for anything else anyway. -- Julia Boorstin